A little heat tempered by avocado – spicy shrimp and guacamole appetizer

spicy shrimp and guacamole

spicy shrimp and guacamole

Spring is a perfect time for freshness but also for a bit of heat.  Here’s a great shrimp appetizer to serve to your guests that has a little bit of kick but is gently tempered by some refreshing guacamole.   The secret to cooking this shrimp is the addition of a homemade sweet and spicy chill sauce.

There are three parts to preparing this appetizer, in addition to cooking the shrimp, you will have to make guacamole and prepare the sweet and spicy chili sauce.  It does take a little work, but thankfully the sweet and spicy chili sauce and the guacamole can both be prepared in advance.   You then just need to cook the shrimp before you’re ready to serve your guests.  This is not a complicated recipe, it just involves a lot of chopping and mincing.  However I guarantee that the efforts you put behind this will be worth it!

Serves 4

spicy shrimp and guacamole

spicy shrimp and guacamole

sweet and spicy chili sauce

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ½ cup ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons hot red pepper, seeded and minced
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 ½ teaspoon lemon rind, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon lime rind, finely grated
  • salt to taste
  1. Add sesame oil to a pan over medium heat.  Add ginger, garlic, shallots and hot red peppers and sauté until softened for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add sugar and water to the pan and stir gently until sugar has dissolved.
  3. Let sauce simmer gently for about 10 minutes, until sauce has slightly thickened and has slightly darkened in colour.  No need to stir as the sugar could crystallize.
  4. Transfer sauce to a bowl, and add lemon and lime rind.
  5. Let it cool and season with salt to taste.

You will have enough of the sauce for another meal, as this makes about 3/4 cup, and you can keep this sauce in the refrigerator for about 5 days.


  • 2 avocadoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • ½ red pepper, seeded and minced
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves and stems, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sweet and spicy chili sauce as per recipe above
  • salt to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients together in a medium bowl and roughly mash together.
  2. Season with salt and refrigerate until needed.    To keep in refrigerator cover the surface of guacamole very tightly with plastic wrap to ensure there is no air.  This will allow you to keep the guacamole for up to a day in the refrigerator.


  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 8 large uncooked shrimps with tail, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons sweet and spicy chili sauce as per recipe above
  • cilantro, finely chopped for garnish
  1. Heat a medium frying pan over high heat and add sesame oil to pan.
  2. Then add shrimp and sauté with a little kosher salt.  When shrimp is halfway cooked, after 1-2 minutes or so, add the 2 tablespoons of the sweet and spicy chili sauce and caramelize for about another minute.  Remove from heat.
  3. To serve place 2 tablespoons of guacamole on a small plate and top with two or three shrimps depending on the quantity of shrimp you have cooked.  Garnish with cilantro and serve.

It’s quite pleasant with a glass of chilled white wine, my preference being a sancerre blanc!